Friday, July 31, 2015

Day 206 Robotic Relationship

July 31, 2015
Day 206

During my college days, I had probably one of the most instructive dreams I had ever been granted. It helped me to clearly see what is and what is not.  A dear friend of mine was attending an off campus college experience on the West Coast. She left as a ridiculously happy woman, she had a smile that pulled you close to her chest and you never wanted to leave. You said yes to every silly and sometimes dangerous thing she wanted you to do. She was the runner, the hiker, the explorer, one active woman racing to healthy living. She was precious. (and I imagine still is)

Her calls back home were concerning to me, however. "Are you a universalist?" I asked her one night as we were speaking on the phone.  Her answer made me heart sick. At this college experience she was encouraged to put the bible down and reflect. Her reflection led her to an "open mind."

That night after I fell to sleep with the knowledge that she had traded in her Savior I had this dream. 

The Dream:
Her and I were speaking of relational things and all of a sudden she stopped and then her face, from the top down, pulled away. What I saw was startling. Beneath her flesh was a robotic mass of plugs, wires and bulbs - cold hardware. What became apparent in my dream was that my friend had traded in a relationship for a program, robotically determined responses. She was not her. She had given up a relationship for a program, an obedience to a system, not the God/man, Jesus Christ.

After I awakened I knew immediately what the dream meant. Sometimes we think we are in a relationship with someone when at some point we realize they are simply following a pattern, a system and are not responding to us relationally but rather responding to us in a cold systematic manner.  This dream has played out many different times during my lifetime.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day 205 People

July 30, 2015
Day 205

Gabe and Morgan, Caleb and Kate

Berg Women
I love people and all kinds of people, I love getting to know someone. I love their uniqueness, their bent on life. I love their special interests. I am intrigued by their thinking. I love listening to their story. I love finding out when they knew what they wanted to do in life. I love listening to them about times that made them grow or times that gave them a new perspective on life. I want to know more about them than I want them to know about me.

Friend for Life Deborah Kurtz

If I would invite everyone I love to one big place, I am not sure everyone would get along. Everyone is so different from one another and this is the way I like it.

I love the different laughs, the different expressions, the different body movements. I love the way each person has an individual style of dancing, of talking, of using their hands. I love people.

And I love you!
Saint Women

Fr. Lt. to Rt. Lynn, Kevin Putt, Theo, Sandy 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day 204 Sun Festival

July 29, 2015
Day 204
A picture of the early morning sun

The Summer sun intoxicates me, so does the Fall sun, so does the Winter sun,
and so does the Spring sun. And so I will enter the Sun Festival. Here is how it will go. You, or I, myself or anyone else for that matter, will submit sun pictures to this festival. It is a given that I will win. But do not let that discourage you. There might be a ray of hope. From where does this bravado originate, or self-confidence come from? Well, since you asked, The Sun Festival is mine. I am the visionary, I am the organizer, I am the PR, and I am the judge of all the entries.

You may submit an entry or two or maybe even a hundred. It should be centered around the sun. I speak much about this festival. I can not stop thinking about it. It invigorates me! I dream of this festival while completely awake and conscious. I constantly think of what I will enter. And, in case something might flare up, I have determined that there will be nothing in small print which says the following:

If you are related to the originator or if you are the originator of the so said and fully deemed, Sun Festival, you may not submit any entries. If it is determined that you overlooked this rule, you will be shamed in front of the Sun Festival’s opening ceremonies.
Are you kidding? Who comes up with those rules? Everyone must feel welcomed. 

The entries need to be received sometime soon. However, to put a time limit on something so timeless seems claustrophobic, myopic, petty, and certainly not a bright idea.

Here are the guidelines:
A picture of the early morning sun

1. Your entry must involve the sun.
2. All entries will be judged based on the theme of the Sun Festival. If you are unsure of the theme, please refer back to #1
3. Make sure that you label the theme of your entry on the back of your entry. The labels should look like this: The Sun
4. All entries must be submitted.

Currently, this is quite the hot topic. We know the theme is classic and will not expire anytime soon. Hence the reason for not cramping anyone's style with a final date for entries. 

We have added some examples, ok, so I have added. There is no team at the Sun Festival's headquarters. I sit alone. Oh, and there will be a Sun Screening, make sure you do not miss this.

A picture of the early morning sun

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day 203 Forgive Assignment

July 28, 2015
Day 203

We arrive and we are finally home. We know we are complete and we are ready for our first assignment. We are excited, tingly, and pushing back our thoughts of grandeur. Focus on humility we remind ourselves. This relationship is all about Jesus. Yes, yes, yes, our inner thoughts agree. It is all about Jesus. We can not believe this is happening, our first assignment.

He paddles for us..
We move up to the booth where the assignments are being processed. While we wait in line we mentally list through our gifts, our advantages, our strong points. We have a feeling, this is going to be good. We move to the front of the line. We look into the boss' face. We are not prepared for His dreaminess, He is so handsome. We're completely lost in His gaze.  

He pulls us closer, almost snuggling, and it's a little uncomfortable, we want to stand tall for our orders. He's so nice and everything but he is really moving into our personal space. Is this really professional? 

We wait for our assignment. He speaks two words - Forgive and Repent. Pardon? Could you repeat that? There must be a mistake. These two words have nothing to do with our strong points, we plead internally. In fact, we have never done them well.  He pulls our faces closer to His and slowly says to us, "This is my job, Let me do this for you." His words penetrate and irritate all at the same time. He says so much with so few words.

We wonder how long this will take us, when can we move on to the next assignment. As if He heard our thoughts, with a glint in his eyes, he says,"Take your time."

Monday, July 27, 2015

Day 202 The Nyssens- Love Them

July 27, 2015
Day 202

The Nyssens; Rachel, Greg and their son, Francis, are a family worth knowing and dropping all things important when they visit from Seattle. We love this family, are inspired by this family, and honored that they make their way to our door when they arrive from the West Coast. Our time with them every summer looks different and every summer the difference adds another layer of love. 

Rachel refused to come for dinner with my first invite in 1986. At age 15, she was too cool to hang out with a pregnant married couple. Her family had moved from upstate NY and with that in common I decided to have them over, only to discover there were five children. That dinner was the beginning of many beautiful relationships within the Diamantopolus family. At some point she accepted every invite and Rachel and I have lived happily ever after.

Inviting the Diamantopolus family over was better than jackpot at Las Vegas. Rachel's mother, Linda, would become a vulnerable and authentic mentor, a faithful friend, an encourager and a woman who would inspire me to live a life of faith. Her father, Paul, would become a source of help and encouragement as well. He is a very giving man! This is a faithful couple who raised brilliant children and we have been privileged to do some lifetime together.

After high school, Rachel moved to Seattle. She was the wanderer, the writer, and the hippie of the nineties. She was also the twelfth employee of, the twelfth! (You did read this correctly, the twelfth). Rachel was not a fortune teller and had no idea that Jeff Bezos would become so powerful. In fact, just before he gave out his first stocks to his initial employees, she left Amazon. I sigh deeply every time I think about this. Really deeply.

She met Greg. This led to marriage. This led to a love fest in a brown van. Which led to baby Francis. Who knew? To this day my son Geoff has been the recipient of Francis' friendship.

Rachel and Greg moved to Reading, PA, shortly after their marriage and van tour.  And this began our adult relationship as married couples. There were many conversations between the four of us (or three, Lynn slept), and much activity in our basement where Lynn had a dark room. Greg would go down every day developing photos, upon photos, upon photos! Greg and Lynn shared much between them and though Lynn was never a conversationalist by night ( he begins his nightly sleep in a chair) he certainly gave Greg a fair share of information.

This past May we had the privilege of being with some of the Diamantopolus family in NYC when we went to go hear Francis play his trumpet for a competition at a High School jazz festival. What a trumpeter he is, his dynamics were amazing!

Greg, a photographer among many other talents, has blessed me in the early mornings these past two summers with an endeavor I have created called Photoeventing (give credit where credit is due, I know you're going to want to do this). Last year, Chris Palladino joined us and what a blast to ferry these two men with keen eyes to places I would not have pulled over for - a soybean field. To photograph with him is more than I can ask. I am in the presence of raw talent!

This is an amazing family. The gifts they share between all three of them seem a bit unfair - they got the goods. But they are humble and always share openly and freely about where they are at. They ask for advice without shame and are willing to go into deep laughter seconds after around a dinner table. We feel honored.

My lesson in all of this is that the relationships that have history are gold. These friendships are meant to hang onto. There is much that wants to wedge in and pull apart friendships. But to let it happen is shortsightedness on steroids. Don't do it. Hang on tight.
God has blessed us with this family and we are hanging on for the ride.

Last night we spent time with this family around their parent's pool. I was flooded with past summer memories going back into the 90's. God is indeed good!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Day 201 Choosing Love

July 26, 2015
Day 201

A single drop effects a wide radius on a single lake!

There have been some hard to things to handle of late. These hard things have given me ample opportunity to put into practice what I know to be of utmost importance - My response. And my response has a ripple effect. I do have the opportunity to effect for ill or good; my soul, my husband, my family, and my friends.

Am I mad? Am I bitter? Am I disgusted? These might be honest feelings and feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are. However, my response to the situation should not be based off of these feelings but rather from a position of strength - solid ground. My faith is out of focus when my reactions are mad, bitter or disgusted. But when my eyes are on Jesus, my response to these challenging situations has the freedom to be based on the love of the Father and this makes all the difference in the world.

Yes, it is a challenge to keep my eyes focused on Jesus but when I do there is freedom and more opportunities for relationships to grow. Bridges are not burned. Jesus loved us deeply. We have miles to go in learning how to love like He loved. Though it would be easy to respond in a retaliatory mode, because He died for me, I chose love. This is true freedom.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Day 200 Tight and Lonely Places

July 25, 2015
Day 200

Hey, that pinches. I need to move over?
But this space is so tight! Why can't I have more room? Because You say You want to be so close?

Hey! Wait, why are you taking that away?! I need that. I don't? Why not? Because You say You are everything?

Why are they leaving? Where are they going? You want me to feel lonely? Why?
Because You say You are my only true friend?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Day 199 Unruly Children in Need of Discipline

July 24, 2015
Day 199

Jesse catching wind...

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Honestly, the amount of talking I do requires an inordinate amount of listening. You, my listener, should be awarded a medal. My words tumble out as if they were shoved into an unorganized, overstuffed closet. Such rude children, my words are. Does order matter to them?  Are you kidding? My words rush to get out and it takes so much energy and discipline to keep them in. Dinner time, kids! Stay in! No! My words scream. And so I choke on them again.

You, listener, are sometimes offended because of my lack of organizational skills. Sometimes you hear something completely different than what I had intended. Is it any wonder? It came slowly to me that maybe I should pay closer attention to the order of my words. Maybe I need to discipline my children and make them wait to come out. Children, single file please. No pushing, no shoving. Be good.

It was a shock when I realized, you, listener, did not want to everything. Here I thought we were having fun, that you were waiting by the phone for me to call and speak my words. You have other things to do? Really? My thoughts expressed in a jumbled heap a' mess do not matter to you? Hmmm, really?!

I read and define unknown words using context clues. Funny thing, I rarely let context rule when I speak. You misunderstood my compliment, my encouragement, because the space in which I shared it was completely out of context. Your confusion is understandable, my lack of context is avoidable so I need to pay closer attention.

There is no imminent timer ready to blare if I don't share. I can wait my turn but my words beg relentlessly to get out and now. I grow weary at their entitlement. They scream and throw temper tantrums. "Let us out! Let us out!" And so I relent. And it often ends up that I have to repent.

Words jumble and stumble out my trap door. Your silence, dear listener, speaks loud. So, I write in a feeble attempt to bring order to the court. Thank you, reader, for your patience as a listener.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Day 198 How Do You?

July 23,
Day 198

Dear Jesus,

How do you keep from slapping my face when you know what I am going to say before I say it? 

How do you keep on loving me when my heart is so full of messy, ugly, muddy, non-loving thoughts?

How do you keep from pulling me out of a social situation, just before I make a move, when you know that after the move, it is going to be a tough situation from which to extricate me?

How do you keep yourself from throwing me under the bus when, covertly, I am about to do just that to one of your creations?

How do you keep from being disappointed when sometimes I lose focus about the clear message of the gospel and I sloppily share this distorted view with someone who needs to hear it clearly expressed?

How do you keep from throwing lightening bolts at me when I am stealing your thunder?

How do you keep from shoving index cards in front of my face with clear and specific instructions when you see my next major move?

How do you keep from audibly yelling STUPID when you see my stupid actions?

How do you keep from making food items fall off the isles in the grocery store when you want me to turn around and talk to that person I just pretended not to see?

How do you keep from pulling my hair when I act more like an insensitive wench rather than a grateful helpmate?

How do you keep from pushing me into someone's face when you know that I know that they need to know that you profoundly love them?

How do you keep from putting duct tape on my mouth when my prayers are so shallow?

How do you keep from yelling directly in my face while pushing me up against the wall when you have to reexplain over and over what your Spirit has been trying to tell me again and again?

How do you keep speaking to me when it seems like I hear nothing?

How do you keep giving me wisdom when I keep discarding the same piece of advice over and over?

How do you keep from giving me a whooping when I am being a dull witted mother?

How do you keep blessing me when I secretly don't want to see others blessed?

How do you keep giving me good gifts to when I am so stingy?

How do you keep supporting me when sometimes I seem so lazy?

How do you keep from speaking real slow and real loud when it looks like my stupidity has hit a record high?

How do you remain in my heart when I seem to be distant from you?

Why do you want to stay with me when I am so inhospitable?

Honestly, how do you do it?

All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Day 197 The Word that Lives

July 22, 2015
Day 197

The B - I - B - L - E , 

yes that's the Book for me!

I stand all by myself on the Word of God
(my brother's version as a wee little lad)

The B - I - B - L - E.

I study the Bible.
I read the Bible.
I eat the Bible.
I breathe the Bible.
I learn the Bible.
I fear the Bible.
I look for Jesus always in the Bible.
I look to the Bible as my mirror.
I am deeply grateful for the Bible.
I crave the Bible.
I am awed by the intense honesty included, the ugliness of humanity.
I am pulled to the Bible.
I ponder the Bible.
I mull over the Bible.
I wait long periods of time to understand the Bible. It doesn't come quick.
I want to know, intimately know, the Bible.
I need the Bible.
I hear the Bible.
I see the Bible.
I am awed by the Bible.
I am saddened by the Bible.
I am shocked by the Bible.
I drink the Bible.
I'm in a deep and abiding relationship with the author of the Bible.
The Bible has at least 39 authors.
The Bible was written over a span of fifteen hundred years.
The Bible with sixty-six books has a theme and they all tie together.
The Bible puts me in a rest mode even though life's activities are exhausting.
The Bible pulls me all around and rarely lets me land on a single understanding of an issue.
The Bible shows me my issues with a hope that pulls me to a place of action.
The Bible inspires me and calls me to do.
The Bible inspires me and calls me to be.
I live the Bible.
I honor the Bible.
I pay attention to the context of the Bible.
I observe the obvious details of the Bible.
I interpret the Bible based on the whole Bible.
The Bible is meant to be understood. So grateful for that.
There should be a warning label before any study of the Bible.
Studying the Bible is not a spiritual gift.
Studying the Bible is spiritual nourishment.
You live out a malnourished life when you do not consume the Word.
I am thrilled by the Word.
I am bathed, cleansed by the Word.
I am challenged by the Word.
I am pummeled by the Word.
I am changed by the Word.
I am consumed by the Word.
I want to dine with the author of the Bible.
I am excited to meet the participants of the Bible.
I am exhausted by the Bible to a place of surrender.
I am surprised by the Bible.
I love treasure hunting in the Bible.
I read the Bible in the good times.
I read the Bible in the bad times.
I see, I feel, I hear the theme of the Bible -
an unconditional, surrendering, counseling, comforting, cleansing love
that pulls me deep into the heart of love.
I love the Bible.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 196 Resources limited? Nah!

July 21, 201
Day 196

Currently, I see many prayer needs regarding money coming from many different places. You know someone who is going on a mission trip, one of your favorite camps is trying to purchase back the deed to the camp's property, a young family has just moved down from Boston and is in need, you are in need, your children are in need. You feel the weight of it. It pushes down, down and down and it makes it hard to look up.
You wonder where all the resources are going to come from?  

Hey,You! Hey, Me! What are we doing? These needs no longer have the power to pull us down. Yes, they have the ability but not the power. What is the answer? Jesus is the answer. He is the solution. He is the resource. He owns the entire world, every single piece of property that has been, that is, that ever will be, He owns everything! His death and resurrection broke the power of death over us and gave us new life. So where is this pressure coming from? Is it Phantom pain? Phantom pressure?

The pressure is coming from a lack of understanding and therefore a lack of faith. It is never about a lack of resources, NEVER. When do you think He lacks resources? Last night when you were sleeping, do you think HE ran out? He never does but we do happen to be connected to the story writer of all story writers who writes in such a way as to increase our faith. We must see things for what they really are! Honestly, our shortsightedness is killing our faith and our faith is essential to walking with Jesus. Jesus has the resources, He is the resource.

God tells us this in Philippians, "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19. We also should not look at what others are doing with their money and consequently think what they should be doing with their money. Leave that in God's care. He doesn't need their money. They do not have a big chunk of the unlimited supply! God has all the resources in Jesus Christ. He is your answer, always. Trust in Him.

Day 195 Missing Post!

July 20, 2015
Day 195

Today, I  began my post for July 21, 2015. I began to put it on a template that had the beginning writings of yesterday's post. Since it was not the completed and edited version, I did not think twice. It is gone, gone, goner than gone. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. And yes, I love using that word S - T - U - P - I -D! No apologies from me. It spites me and as Sarah said this morning, "It's irksome."

The post was about meals and the ease at which I experience them these days. I do not go the recipe route, I go the what the heck is in the house route. My family loves this modus operandi I have going. I call it mush and they call it a meal.

It is important to have the basic elements that everyone loves. For instance, good meats (chicken and hamburger - boring), good vegetables, Goya beans (until I begin to make them myself) brown rice ( but man do I love white), garlic, onions, peppers and the Trinity of spices-garlic powder, Kosher salt and pepper.

I do much roasting of vegetables, small cuts of meat, lots of sliced apples with meals (Weaver's Orchard is the supplier of the apple seconds, we are now on Fuji). I always think of the verse that rings something like this in Proverbs, it is better to have vegetables in a house of love than meats. I know my paraphrasing is questionable but the main point is clear.

I have learned to think twice before you post, you might be inadvertently deleting an original and you will never find it again. By the fact that I can find this post nowhere, Blogger is not a merciful or forgiving entity. Where is the dump pile? I will emotionally move on! Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Day 194 You Are There For A Reason

July 19, 2015
Day 194

When you see a family fighting at WalMart do you watch them as if you would a soap opera? Or do you lift them up in prayer knowing that there are no coincidences and you are there for a reason. We are undercover agents bringing people back to their maker. "In the name of Jesus, please dear Lord bring an understanding to this family as to what would really make them happy. Help them understand what is at the root of their fighting. Please help them to turn to you."

Have you been witness to a situation where you can smell trouble? You can almost see it playing out. Do you watch this like you would a dramatic movie? Or do you ask God to help them avoid the pitfalls you see them headed towards. "Dear Jesus, you know exactly what is going on. Would you please help them to avoid this train wreck."

Have you wept as you felt someone's pain before they even experienced it? It was as if you were transported twenty years down the road to their tumultuous emotional future. Or do you think you are just being overly dramatic? "Dear Jesus, I do not know what I am experiencing, but I pray that this person learns to know you on a deeper level."

As a believer, every experience matters. We have the privilege of being involved in many different people's lives, some we might see but will never meet this side of heaven. Are you willing to be part of this adventure and every time you feel nudged, go to prayer. Going to the store, filling up your gas tank, talking with a telemarketer becomes purposeful. This is what it is all about. We have the privilege of tapping into the most powerful energy source - God's throne room!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day 193 What You Deserve

July 18, 2015
Day 193

You deserve for me to think about the back story you live with everyday. You deserve for me to be sensitive to you. You deserve for me to ask you questions learning as much about you as I can. You deserve for me to respect your boundaries knowing that they probably are built out of pain. You deserve for me to listen to you with my heart knowing that your words might not be expressing exactly what you mean. You need for me to try to listen to your heart and know your words may be muddled.

You are someone who deserves for me to go the extra mile with you. You need to be heard. There is only one of you and it is an honor to know you.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Day 192 Less is More

July 17, 2015
Day 192

Following Christ did not start with an ascent of my intellect. I did not lay out the pro's and the con's and go with what seemed logical. But instead, there was a tap on my shoulder, an inner stirring of my heart, an understanding of an offer, a moving of the Spirit. It was this that began a relationship that has put me on a different road, it has placed me in an invisible kingdom, and given me a completely new set of values. I am an outcast with some other outcasts. We define the minority.

What I have learned is that there is a principle of The Few/Less in operation in this invisible kingdom. The Body of Christ is not an accumulation of friends unified by their commonness. They are not all living in a communal soup looking, acting, and thinking the same way. The Body of Christ is full of misfits, losers, and folks who are weak, affirming their weakness. We are only unified by Jesus Christ. And many times we experience a painful whittling away of some very dear folks who leave us because they are done.  

The road is really narrow and not so pleasant. We are members not due to the lure of the ease of our life with Him but because we are welcomed by His love, overwhelmed by His mercy and thankful for His compassionate grace. We are in love with our follower. We could not imagine life without Him. We affirm He is our crutch, our Savior, our Helper and all the other words that affirm our neediness, our dependence, our lack, our vulnerability, our lack of status.

Why we follow Jesus has nothing to do with our culture, our parents, or our location. But rather it has everything to do with being chosen by Him. We are not part of this kingdom because our parents made it look cool, or because our friends were really convincing. We know this kingdom operates under The Few/Less principle. We know there is less room to move on the very narrow road. We know we are walking with fewer and fewer comrades. We are part of this kingdom because we had an encounter and continue to have encounters with the One who wooed us. 

So many think this road is narrow because of rules. It is just because they do not know. This road is narrow because of His love. He loves deep and hard and it causes us to move away from the main stream. This is not about a majority rule, a quorum. We move with the abused, the underprivileged, the less fortunate. We are stoopers having a hard time looking into the eyes of sin but knowing that Jesus's love is sufficient for sin. 

We see beyond what the world offers and we are smitten and willing to go without and live with this Few/Less principle. He asks us to take up our cross and follow Him. He went alone to the cross so that He could walk with us. This has made all the difference, less means more of Him.

Are you a follower of Jesus? Why are you surprised by the lack of support? His garden experience was enjoyed with few. 

(This lovely garden was created by a woman who walks alone. Her husband died last summer and out of her pain she has created beauty. She would tell you as she grasps her chest that she is so in love with her Savior. This does not alleviate her deep grief, she wants her husband but Jesus has become more sweeter to her than she could ever imagine. He has asked her to dine with Him.  Rev. 3:19) 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Day 191 To Do Or You Didn't Do

July 16, 2015
Day 191

There is no way I would purchase a self help book at Barnes and Nobles. However, every time I make a"To Do List" while ignoring the "What Was Done List," I am using the Bible as a self-help book! I kinda thought studying the bible was going to make me a fabuloso Christian. What a shock to discover ugly stuff rising up in my heart the more I read and studied the Bible. The Bible is a story of what God has done, not what I am to do. It is a beautiful love story of what was sacrificially done for us.
Colossians opened my eyes revealing the uneven balance of what He does versus what we do, nothing but accept!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Day 190 Memories: Friends or Tormentors

July 15, 2015
Day 190

This past Saturday, on a porch over looking a mesmerizing lake, memories flooded me like a refreshing fall of water. I am blessed. Memories can either wander leisurely into your life or barge through the door like an unwanted guest. My memories are my friends, the good ones outweigh the sad. But for many, memories are their tormenters. They hunt them down, push them into a dark corner frightening them with sights and smells of a different place and time they have no want to remember.

You and I, the privileged, the underserved (please understand the undeserved part), whose memories are friends, we are required, by love's law, to be as sensitive as a feather. There is no judgment we are required to use as a hammer. We are asked to wander after the One whose love pours out for the tormented, pours out for the underprivileged, pours out for those in grief, and who has an extreme desire for the hunted to be found and loved.

As we follow the lover we are to love likewise. He ask us to do what He does, to say what He says and it is always consistent with love. Try not to be fooled by those who pedal the "tough love" mantra. This has been used for much evil in christianity. It continues to happen in all of our communities around the world. Very sad memories are created by this philosophy which too often masks a hidden, selfish agenda. Don't be fooled, Jesus stoops. (Jn 8:1-11)

We all have triggers. For some their triggers cause unnatural and unpleasant reactions forcing people to step away. For others the triggers are pleasant luring people to come closer. They say money separates the haves from the have nots. Are you kidding? Haves and have nots are separated by memories! Compared to solid, loving, and refreshing memories, money is easy to obtain.

Later that afternoon, after the porch insight, Betty introduced me to Bobbi. Betty started to tear as she gave me background to Bobbi's history. At age fourteen Bobbi's mother suddenly died, her father remarried and Bobbi's stepmom threw her on the streets. Bobbi's father was not her defender. (my details are fuzzy but the story is still way too sad) The former camp owner of the beautiful property had allowed her to live in his home while two very dear staff members, Avis and Jerry, a dynamic team of women, mentored and raised Bobbi.

My tears escaped. "Bobbi, God talked to me about you this morning. You are one of the ones with memories that have the power to stalk and bring you sadness." She comforted me as I was hugging her and crying. Our God, whose love restores, is a redeemer of memories. Memories are painful and only God can redeem and restore them. He then uses them to bless, counsel and comfort others.  A meadow of grace is where He brings us, a place to rejuvenate and energize our memories for His glory.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Day 189 A Call to Action for LeTourneau Christian Camp

July 14, 2015
Day 189

This is a call to action. There is a place on Canandaigua Lake in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of New York called LeTourneau Christian Center. The Board of Directors has initiated a bold plan to purchase back the property to restore a vibrant camping ministry to children and families. This is a plea for your help.

Have you heard about this place or perhaps even been there? It might not look like any of the Ritz Hotels around the world but it has been part of a kingdom that has produced more lasting wealth than any one is able to collect in this world. Many are going into their closets to pray, driven by love, to tap into an energy source more powerful than all of the waterfalls around this planet combined. Today, they are holding on in faith believing God will supply their needs. Were  you a former camper? They would enjoy hearing from you. Even if you were not, they still would benefit from you support.

This Center has played a spiritually significant role in my life. My camping experience had much to do with who I am as a wife, as a mother, and as a member of the Body of Christ. The Spirit guided sermons I heard on this little spit of a property back in the late '60's and 70's gave me an intense love for the Bible. Have you been impacted by this place? Contact them.

We were privileged to spend this past weekend at the camp and met the new director, Jamie Fischer. He loves children and families and wants the camp to again provide programs to spiritually aid both these groups. He cries easily when sharing what God is doing in his heart for this place. As I listened, I knew Jaime was tapping into something deep for me. Please, I want to be part of this action. I know how significant a week of camp can be in one's life. I might not have cold cash but I know who owns the cattle.

Shortly after meeting Jamie we met Jim Coler. He represents a younger generation on the board. The connections between us were ones you just can not fabricate. His vision clearly lined up with the new director's. The desire to be part of the new phase at LeTourneau just continued to grow. I might not have cold cash but I know who owns the cattle. What I can do is spread the word. You might feel the same way. Let them know you're praying or that you want to give.
LeToureau Christian Center is now at a crossroads. By the end of September they need to raise over $70,000 to complete the amount needed to purchase back the deed to the property. The world would see this as a problem but believers see this as an opportunity to increase their faith. God loves cliff hangers and this story is no exception. The group of people comprising LeTourneau Christian Center are part of a kingdom that says survival has nothing to do with the fittest but rather everything to do with the weakest relying on God.

My tap root at LeTourneau goes far and that makes me want to help. You might have been a camper also, and your life might have been impacted as well. Would you be willing to do the hard stuff and go into your closet and pray? Would you also be willing to send money that could go to the payment of the deed? God is too good to us. I knew you would want to know. Please send your contact information to LeTourneau so that they can build a database of former campers like you and me.

Maybe you have a specific story you would like to share. This would be fabulous if you let the staff at LeTourneau know. Write and tell them. We need to tell of God's good deeds.

To give financially, to update your contact information, to share with them a story go to: 

In the meantime, pray for the deed to be purchased in a timely manner and ask God to go beyond beyond, which is what He does best!

You probably made a call from this telephone booth. Today make a call from your prayer closet.

Please post this to your facebook page and let's put the word out. LeTourneau Christian Center needs a little help now. And remember, even if you have never heard of this, pray about being part of the next generation of campers at LeTourneau. You will fall in love with the staff and the setting.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 188 Fergie's Children

July 13, 2015
Day 188

Fergie, our bichon toy poodle, is a gift straight out of heaven. Fergie was free because he was brindle. This meant he wasn't all white, all black or all brown. He was a mix creating some predominant grey areas. So therefore, he wasn't wanted.

We know it was God's providence. Fergie was unwanted so that his true family, the Burkholders, would have him. This is one great dog! People have come to our home and oogled and ahggled over this guy. So many have said they want to take him  home. Though they are kidding it kinda scares us. To not have Fergie, well, let's not even go there.

I did not want to get the little guy fixed. I had a dream of starting a new Fergie breed. Finding a willing breeder was not for the fainthearted. But like a persistent hound I finally did. Cynthia Detweiler said yes and allowed her King Cavalier, Marci, to a one night stand with Fergie.

Now there are two adorable puppies, a little girl and a little boy. The little guy will come live with us. We can not wait. And yes, he will stay intact as did his daddy. We want to arrange a one night stand for him as well. You are going to want one of these puppies. We should probably start a waiting list!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Day 187 Strong Family Ties

July 12, 2015
Day 187

True gifts are held in one's heart and not in one's hands. Reconnecting with relatives in the heart of the Fingerlakes was Christmas in July. I am speechless. This time goes deep into the recesses of my heart. We are tied not only by blood but by the Spirit.

The last time we were all together was for my Aunt Nan's funeral. This time it was for her granddaughter's wedding, Allison to Colin. She would have wanted to live for this. Her grandchildren were her pearls. Uncle Bill, suffering from dementia, had he known would have wanted to be present this weekend as well. Nan is missed in death and Bill is missed in life. Life is full of polarized emotions.

Her children are impressive. Her one son is married to a woman who embodies calm elegance with a focus on Jesus. This woman can work a crowd and it would never look political, self serving or contrived. She breathes peace. Their three sons are counter culture men who moved to Colorado to live out their christian faith with authenticity. They refuse to be defined. My cousin their father, though a joker, has a deep and abiding faith.

This guy, Nan's oldest son is fun on steroids. To take it up a notch is all he knows, laughter is breathing for him. Just when you thought something wasn't funny he has changed your mind without your consent. Don't let this guy fool you, though his laughter will try to distract you, the man has deep thoughts.

Aunt Nan's oldest daughter, a nurse by trade and an intentional mother by day and night, is another picture of strong calmness. Her husband provides dental care with an adeptness that has created a true fan base and she has aided him in his practice with her strong organizational skills. Yearly they both travel to Nicaragua helping those less fortunate with dental care. This couple has done something right, both their children are heading for the medical field. Someone should have taken notes.

Aunt Nan's third child has always been a mover and a shaker. He is in Chicago working for Sear's at the corporate level running meetings with his strong organizational and relational skills. Audio visual has always been his flare and he uses it well. He is also good at creating a strong team that not only will but wants to do what he says. He, along with his other siblings is not one to brag about who he knows but he knows many influential folks.

Nan's baby is moving to Belgium with her three children and husband, a West Point grad. They will be living in a restored castle from the 1600's with its own personal moat. The chandeliers in their new home are older than our country. Her husband has been in the military their entire married life and has just been transferred to Belgium. All of the details of the move are amazing but still a bit fuzzy to me. This woman is just as impressive as her husband in a military sort of way, she has been called the little general. Aunt Nancy knew how to pass on her strong organizational skills to her children and her baby was just another recipient.

Aunt Nan would be proud of her children's humility and their walk with Jesus. Though the four of them have much to brag about, they don't. These folks are more than my cousins, they are my sisters and brothers in Jesus. This is life at its best and how it should be; family members enjoying time spent together and knowing their time doesn't end with this life.

Last night at the wedding I watched them dance and dance and dance and dance. The fun, the love, and all the moves were tied together in one big love fest! This family loves and loves well. This was a wedding well worth the trip and now my prayer is that Allison and Colin will make the most of their trip. To God be the Glory.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Day 186 An Insignificant Place of Spiritual Significance

July 11, 2015
Day 186

There is one place on this planet that brings me intense happiness and I am at that place, LeTourneau Christian Camp. The memories of this spot overwhelm me from the 1960's into the mid 70's. The faces, thoughts, smells, insights, new beginnings, ideas, swirl around fondly. My memories are friends and what a gift. This is something I will never take for granted! There is much expected from me with how much has been given to me.

This sliver of a camp is on one of the most gorgeous lakes, Canandaigua, in upstate New York, along with the other gorgeous lakes. If you were on a boat you'd miss it and maybe even drive past Letourneau without thinking twice. This small piece of property, however, looms large for me in spiritual significance.

The wooden tabernacle filled my senses with an intense smell that threw me back forty years. It thrilled my senses. I sat in those uncomfortable wooden benches as a little girl riveted by the messages. The sermons in that tabernacle were better than eating the best steak prepared on a summer's grill. Speaking of the imminent return of Jesus Christ was common fare in the wooden tabernacle. Though Jesus will return, this topic has yet to return, it went out in the 70's.

This place fortified foundational truths for my spiritual understanding. And the Holy Spirit is still nailing those truths deeper and deeper into my spirit to this day. I am blessed. This place made it as clear as the lake that all I need is Jesus. He is more than enough for me!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 185 To Dream the Impossible Dream

July 10, 2015
Day 185

To dream the impossible dream would look like this....

~No person would ever use their middle finger from their car directed toward me or my kin,
in an act of disgust at something I did that I didn't know I did.

~There would never be a time when my fridge was empty of butter, eggs or milk. So far so good.

~Everything that comes out of my mouth would be perfectly understood by all my family members. It's not going so well.......

~Every act of kindness that I do would be from pure, loving motives. Until that happens it's kinda pathetic.

~I would fit every piece of clothing, size medium to below, and that my self confidence would be fit for anything after leaving the fitting room.

~Sunny days would be spent in sunny moods forgetting bunnies made of dust.

~My children would think my biting sarcasm is hilarious.

~Little minions with a clear and definite purpose would surround my home every night cleaning and organizing to a military level of proficiency.

~I would think before I speak.

~I would speak exactly what I mean, mean exactly what I speak, and speak meanly to no one.

~My laundry room would look as if a minimalist had designed it.

~Painting a room would not involve cutting the edges.

~The books I am in the middle of would be read till the end.

~Time would mysteriously rewind allowing me to hold my babies again, snuggling and smothering them with kisses, like we did in days gone by.

~Every movie would be a winner from Red Box.

~Weeds would catch a disease.

~Canning and freezing could be scheduled.

~Everyone would understand where I am coming from without explanation.

~I could let my house go and it would take me no time to get it back in order.

~Each meal would be perfectly balanced, completely filling, and always refreshing, and ready when we were hungry.

~My scary basement would attract cleaners instead of mice.

~Rust was not a thing.

~Insects would have short life cycles and never lay eggs in home.

~No one would ever think that I am defensive because, you know, I never am.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Day 184 They Will Dream Dreams

July 9, 2015
Day 184

I have a dear friend, Katie Schwartz. She comes through the doors and allows me to continue on with my activities while she blends in sharing, helping, laughing, eating, and just having fun with all of us. We love her dearly. She has always had a gleam, a mischievous sense about her, this always pulls me close. She is a dreamer and I have listened to many of her dreams. But this one goes deep into the recesses of my spirit and lifts me high!

This dream is for you as well. With so much unrest all around it is easy to fear. This dream addresses the fear. Read on, it will be hard for you not to be blessed.  I so wish she had something daily I could read. For now I will take this.

Katie Schwartz's dream on July 6, 2015

I was in a field in Morgantown. The sky was bright blue without a hint of reason to believe that it would be anything but the loveliest of evenings. I was sitting in the field with a friend from church and we were deep in conversation about faith and community. This conversation was of the utmost importance at the time but as we talked the sky became darker and darker. In what seemed like a few seconds, the sky was black. Clouds had taken over the sky and masked the blue beauty that was there just moments before. Suddenly the wind hit my back. I felt it shifting around me but had the sense that it’s only desire was to move through me and it seemed to get frustrated by the object that stood in it’s path. We knew that we were in trouble. 

We started to run for shelter as I watched the clouds begin to swirl and heard the rage of the storm that was brewing. I watched the funnel form before me, which pushed me into running as fast as my legs could carry me. The people in every house we ran to turned us away….there was no shelter for us to take as the funnel hit the ground and began it’s path of destruction. I ran through the fields but knew that the funnel would eventually overtake me.

A peace came over me as I realized that I had nothing to fear with this tornado that was before me. I told Papa, “That conversation was needed, so protect me in these moments.” The tunnel of wind and clouds and rage roared at me. I felt the wind but no terror. The funnel moved through me as if I didn’t exist. I continued to run but was quickly overcome by the funnel yet again. This time it picked me up into it’s vortex but instead of being thrown down, my body came to a sudden stop right before I would have hit the ground. I found myself being laid gently onto the grass below me when I surely should have been injured by the fall.

I ran to the Burkholder’s because I knew that I would find shelter there. As I ran into the backyard I saw Lynne in the backyard. No one else was in sight. She was holding up her phone towards the sky, taking pictures of the funnel that was raging towards her. Perhaps, I should have panicked. Perhaps I should have yelled a warning but there was no possibly way that she didn’t see the beast that was about to take her. 

Instead of running, she continued to stand there and take pictures. The tornado had destroyed everything around it. There was only destruction and chaos in it’s wake and yet, Lynne continued to take pictures. In that moment, I realized that she had the same belief of protection that I did and that she would essentially tell God the same thing I did, “These pictures are important, so protect me in these moments.” 

The tornado thundered towards her, I watched as it sucked her into its grasp and spun her around and around. Suddenly she came flying to the ground at a speed that we humans are not intended to reach by free falling. As quickly as she was moving towards the ground, her body abruptly came to a halt, as mine had, before she plopped onto the earth below her. The house was untouched, the family was safe,  and the garden was still as beautiful as ever. The rest of the town…well, that’s another story.

Written by Katie Schwartz July 6, 2015

That's all she dreamed.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Day 183 Addiction: Don't Help Me

July 8, 2015
Day 183

Books and books and books and books and could I have some more books, please. Please. I really need more. I don't have to read them. I need them. They comfort me. I need them on my bed night stand. I need them on my dresser. I need them in baskets. I need them on shelves. I need them in bookshelves. I need them in the kitchen. I need some in the bathroom. I need a book with me when I hop in the car. I need more and more and more and more books. I crave books. My name should be Lynne Bookholder.

Everyday, I need a book! Today, to get me through the laundry lurking, I will read a couple of paragraphs as a reward system. I will never end this addiction. It is hardcore.

This did not begin as a little girl. I was not on my belly with my legs swaying back and forth bent at the knees reading a chapter book under a tree. We didn't have trees. My parents read books to me but it was never a daily or bedtime ritual. Are you kidding? I was creating forts, climbing trees, wandering around town, imaging myself in different stories but rarely did I crack open a book.

The intense pull to books began in high school when many are swayed to many things, some good and some not so good. And it was also then I realized some books were too powerful for me. I was feeling depressed, rather blue. I asked God what it was. The book "Dune" came flying into my mind. I was reading it at the time and my mind was being pulled into a realm I was not ready for, science fiction. I know, that sounds like a wimp, I was and still am. Frank Herbert, the author, wrote this piece of literature, which is a classic in the science fiction genre. But my spirit at the time could not handle it. "Dune" was a lesson in the power of books, they can either bring me up or pull me down. I actually threw the book away and my spirit lifted. As I write, my intrigue in having a go at it again has been sparked, more than likely it would not affect me as an adult. Who knows?

On the other side of the spectrum, Elizabeth Elliot wrote "The Shadow of the Almighty" using Jim Elliot's journal to piece together a good picture of her husband. This book brought me down as well. Man, this guy was too much for me. I felt lazy, unmotivated, superficial, unchristian as I read his journal entries. This dude was seriously all out for Jesus! I had to put it away and hear God say to me, "Lynne, stop looking over the fence. Focus, girl! Just look at me. We can do this and trust me it is not going to be Jimmy's way." I put that book down as well and have yet to finish it.  As I write, my intrigue in having a go at it again has been sparked, more than likely it would not affect me as an adult. Who knows? (yes, I did repeat myself)

The spell of books has lured me further and further into more and more and more. I have learned over the years what books were best for me and when. Some are appropriate with breakfast, some with afternoon tea and some to read in bed. Jan Karon's Mitford series is perfect to read before bedtime. And some are not so good to read before bedtime. I was "studying" the Vampire novels, you know, seeing if what my friends' daughters were reading was appropriate. By midnight I am calling to see if someone had the next book in the series. Could I come get it? Now?! These books pushed me into the next sentence with a sense of urgency. These books are meant for daylight, undercover.

There are books for certain times. Nicky Sue's birth was all about Angela Hunt's books. And when I have been sick in bed I always have a ready supply of reading material but this is a critical time to be choosey when I am at a low point. Back in the '90's I realized that reading Ann Rule with the flu was not a good prescription drug. She is an American true crime writer taking highly publicized cases and giving a bird's eye view of the life of the criminal. You are sick, you are feeling low, and reading Ann Rule at this point causes you to be on guard. Did my husband put something in the broth? Are they plotting my demise as they have left me up here all day with no inquiry? Actually, I am not sure when it is a good time to read Ann Rule. Maybe now.

"Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (I butcher it all the time) is another book I am unable to read. I have tried so many times to get through this. You relate to every one of his characters, he is that good. Dostoyevsky does virtual reality. He helps you climb into the characters' brains and herein lies my problem. Rodion, the main character, commits a crime for the good of society, or so he thinks, and the torment that he endures is too much for him and me. I have to get through this book before I die.

Books are my drugs, my elixir. I love, love, love, books. Yesterday I hid at the Henrietta Library attempting to get work done. When I left I had precious little time, however enough to check the cheap book room. I found, "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamont and "On Writing Well" by William Zinser. They both were in excellent condition and both one dollar! I was frantically searching for change. I was shy 20 cents and ready to ask anyone in the library for change, "Lady, can you spare me a dime?" I did end up searching through the car and found what I needed.

I walked out of that library with such a sense of relief, fulfillment, accomplishment and a severe book high. I love books. When I arrived at home I pulled in the driveway only to pull out again with Jesse who needed a ride to his Championship Game. We arrived at 5:40 pm, I had twenty minutes to read. Not enough time!

I will never show up at Bookaholics Anonymous. This book addiction is going to take me out and far! And there is one book that I read constantly, the Bible. I can read it in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, whenever I want! It does not depress me, it convicts me. It is a mood changer like no other reading material. What I love most about this book is that I know the author.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Day 182 He Often Warns

July 7, 2015
Day 182

Years ago Lynn was asked to make a business trip on a Sunday to go and meet a potential client in New Hampshire. He has been a pilot since he was eighteen and he intended on flying his club plane. However, we were a bit uncomfortable with this scenario. Lynn and I make it priority not to work on Sundays. This is a day to celebrate and remember how out of control we really are! We take naps, we read, we consider how good God is and we do not work.  Both Lynn and I were struggling with this trip, something was amiss.

Lynn was able to go to church that morning and from there he was going to leave for New Hampshire. But one man changed everything. This guy never dreams vivid dreams, at least not until then. But he did that Saturday night. And he told Lynn everything the next morning in church.

He dreamt that Lynn was in a terrible accident with the plane crashing into the side of a hill just outside of Morgantown. Rick was intensely animated and gave eery details as he told us exactly where it had happened and could even take us to the exact spot. He said there were two people in the plane, one lived and the other died. He did not know, however, who lived and who died.

Rick was visibly shaken. He knew as soon as he awoke he needed to tell Lynn. What I remember most about this particular event is Rick retelling the dream in such detail. He could see the crash. If this was not a warning we did not know what was. The leading of the Holy Spirit was evident. Lynn called the trip off.

Lynn called his buddy who had arranged the meeting. This man was not happy and did not understand. However, we were not concerned about his reaction because we believed God was warning. God warns but do we listen?